by Kate Heyhoe
Bocaditos (or "little bites"), Mexico's answer to China's dim sum and Spain's tapas, embody both the true creativity of Mexican cuisine and the vibrant spirit of its country of origin. Bocaditos: The Little Dishes of Mexico, by acclaimed chef and cookbook author Reed Hearon, includes over forty tempting recipes for these flavorful little dishes along with the sensational salsas, recados, and moles that further add to their appeal.
Immensely versatile, bocaditos are perfect for entertaining or as a midday snack; combined to create a light and luscious lunch; or presented en masse as a full-fledged fiesta dinner. Exotic yet easy to prepare, bocaditos, Hearon writes, "reflect the different phases of the day" and are, he continues, "a part of the fabric of life."
From the smallest dishes, botanas (Achiote Shrimp Brochettes with Grilled Pineapple Salsa; Chiles de Agua with Corn and Squash Blossoms) to the larger plates, antojitos (Duck Flautas with Pipian Verde: Shrimp and Blue Corn Tamales Colados; Sopes with Picadillo and Avocado) and the seafood specialties known as mariscos (Crabs en Mojo de Ajo; Tuna Ceviche Verde), Bocaditos presents Mexican food the way it's really prepared south of the border.
Lavishly illustrated with full-color photographs by Laurie Smith and complete with detailed information about authentic ingredients and simple techniques, Reed Hearon's Bocaditos is a warm and tempting invitation to satisfy any appetite, big or small, the Mexican way.
Reed Hearon was selected as one of the country's best chefs by Food & Wine magazine and named San Francisco Focus magazine's 1996 Chef of the Year, Hearon owned the Rose Pistola, the critically acclaimed restaurant in San Francisco's North Beach. Prior to that, he developed the southwestern menu at the Rattlesnake Club in Denver and revitalized San Francisco's Corona Bar & Grill as executive chef. Hearon was also executive chef of the popular Restaurant LuLu and chef-owner of Cafe Marimba, both located in San Francisco. Having acquired a love of Mexican food at an early age, Hearon travels extensively and often south of the border. He is also the author of Salsa and La Parilla: The Mexican Grill, both published by Chronicle Books.
Laurie Smith's photographs have appeared in such publications as the Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as well as in Saveur Time and Garden Design magazines. Her previous books include La Parilla: The Mexican Grill. Smith lives and works in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Cinco de Mayo, the Fifth of May, honors the Mexican victory at Puebla in 1862. It's such a significant fiesta on both sides of the border that in 1998 even the US and Mexican governments unrolled a joint postage stamp commemorating Cinco de Mayo—a stamp especially appropriate for hot and spicy letters.
Add extra spice to the back of the stamp—or your favorite meat for grilling—with a little of this Chipotle Chile Rub...
This easy-to-make recado adds a smoky complexity to a wide range of foods from corn to pork to seafood and almost anything else.
1 tablespoon corn oil
3 chipotle chiles, seeded and deveined
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon dried Mexican oregano, toasted and freshly ground
5 cloves garlic
Place the oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the chiles, one or two at a time, and fry, turning once, until puffed and brown, about 1 minute. Do not let the chiles burn or the chipotle rub will be bitter. Drain the chiles by shaking off the excess oil and set aside until cool and crisp. Discard the oil.
In a spice mill, grind the chiles, in batches, until powdery. Add the chile powder, salt, oregano, and garlic to a food processor and process until you have a shaggy saltlike spice rub. If the mix seems wet, spread it in a thin layer on a dry baking sheet and let it dry out in a cool (150 degree F) oven for 1 hour or so. Store in a covered container at room temperature indefinitely. Regrind before use, if necessary.
Makes about 1/2 cup.
The Little Dishes of Mexico
By Reed Hearon
Photographs by Laurie Smith
Price: $15.95, paperback
ISBN: 0-81 18-1009-7
Reprinted by permission
Plus: 50 more Mexican recipes in Mexico section.
This page originally published as a Global Gourmet Today column in 1998.
Copyright © 2007, Kate Heyhoe. All rights reserved.
This page modified January 2007
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